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Posts Tagged ‘sowbugs’

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Last year was such a horrible season for bugs. They stripped my entire crop of bean plants down to bare stems almost overnight, and when I tried to replant, they simply did it again, ninja style, so that I didn’t even know what I was up against. So this spring, when I noticed holes appearing in my young bean plants, I kept a close eye out. Sowbugs (aka roly-polies) and slugs were the main culprits. There wasn’t much I could/can do about the sowbugs, aside from trying to eliminate the moist, shadowy areas where they congregate under planks of wood and rocks and the like. Avoiding watering in late afternoon might help by eliminating the chance for soggy soil during the darker hours when they get to work.

As for the slugs, I considered a few choices. Diotomaceous earth is supposed to be very effective in keeping slugs out of the garden. Made of microscopic glass-like organisms (diatoms), this fine dust scratches the tender undersides of slugs and makes it difficult for them to cross it. However, most of the stuff I found at the garden centers had very dubious labeling, and I couldn’t tell if what I was preparing to buy was actually organic, or just pretending to be organic, or if it had other more toxic stuff mixed in.

I decided to go with another approach that I had always read about but never tried. (Okay, I admit, I salted a few slugs, but that was only because it was a Sunday and I couldn’t buy any liquor.)

The best approach to catching and killing slugs is by intoxicating them. Simply find a dish at least half an inch deep, and sink it into the ground til it is level with the soil. Fill it with beer (I find that the cheaper beers tend to have better results). The next morning, you are bound to have a dish full of slugs who couldn’t resist the temptation and ended up drowning themselves in a drunken stupor. Not only is it effective, but the mere idea is entirely amusing.

Tip: try covering your beer trap with something that the slugs can easily crawl under, but will still protect the trap from rain, or from curious dogs who will eat or drink pretty much anything. I’ve been using a piece of broken flower pot, which has worked great. And if you are like me and forget to bring your ceramic pots inside for the winter, then I am sure you have plenty of broken crockery to work with.

Drink up, slugs!

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